The Greens fielded a strong squad with only influential scrummager Ollie Cole not available.
Play commenced in far from ideal conditions, with a cold misty rain and on a wet surface. Both teams attempted to be ambitious but inevitably the ball was dropped and possession turned over. Scunthorpe had an early set-piece advantage and after winning a penalty, Tom Foster put the ball into the Phoenix ‘22’ and the pack did the rest from the ensuing lineout. Tom Hughes got the touchdown to put the Greens on the board after 11 minutes of play. Paul Cook added the extras for a 7 points to nil lead.
As play continued it became clear that the home boys were adapting to the conditions better than their visitors. They carried the ball strongly in mid-field and severely tested the Phoenix defence. Having had more of the territory and possession it was no surprise when The Greens once more trundled over from a lineout, with Dave Garbutt this time getting the try. Cook again converted with an outstanding strike to take the home boys into a 14 points to nil lead after 27 minutes of play.
Doncaster Phoenix came more into the game towards the end of the half and in fact had an opportunity to capitalise but lost possession and allowed the Greens to get clear and with an overlap on the right wing, Sam Morgan raced into the corner. Cook was unable to convert but Scunthorpe went into the interval with a clear 19 points to nil advantage.
Having scored 3 tries in the first half, the home support were awaiting the bonus point try and as Doncaster used the wind advantage to kick the ball into the Greens ‘22’, which they kept running back and going through the phases to threaten at the other end. It became clear that this would be the pattern throughout the second period. Conditions did not improve and although line-brakes were made, mistakes abounded as the ball was dropped or inappropriate passes attempted.
Phoenix had a player yellow carded after 13 minutes of the second period and only two minutes later The Greens had Guy Mychuliuk binned for a high tackle and was therefore not able to take advantage of numeric superiority. Despite a stuttering lineout, Scunthorpe pressed strongly and on many occasions came very close to adding that all important 4th try but the visiting defence held and with no scores in the second half the game ended with a 19 points to nil score-line.
As disappointed as they would be in not getting that bonus point try, there would be the satisfaction of holding a team that usually are quite prolific points scorers, to zero.
Next Saturday The Greens undertake the long journey to Sandbach in Cheshire for their final away fixture of the season. It should be a tough contest with the Cheshire boys generally being strong on their own turf and can boast the only defeat of league leaders Birmingham Solihull.